By Ashley Hendricks
StepUp Ministry, a Raleigh nonprofit that helps adults in need find jobs, wants to expand its reach.
The group hopes to raise $2 million through Band Together NC, which has partnered with local nonprofits since 2001 to use music as a platform for social change.
Band Together NC will host a concert Saturday at Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh. Money raised from the event will go to StepUp Ministry, which hopes to soon serve families in Durham and beyond.
This is the second time Band Together NC has chosen StepUp Ministry as its partner group. In 2010, a concert for the ministry raised $358,000.
“(StepUp Ministry) is the only nonprofit that was selected twice,” said Matt Strickland, executive director of Band Together NC. “That says a lot.”
A faith-based group, StepUp Ministry has been around for 25 years and is dedicated to helping people gain employment through life skills and job training.
Last year, the ministry placed 326 program graduates into jobs, according to the group. Of those, 67 percent were ex-offenders, 31 percent struggled with substance abuse and 38 percent were homeless.
The ministry is all about giving people second chances.
“Their entire life should not be hinged on one moment’s bad decision,” said Linda Nunnallee, executive director of StepUp Ministry. “It’s just the right thing to do, to be able to provide for their needs.”
StepUp Ministry also offers programs for children, including life-skills training.
The group currently operates in Raleigh and Greensboro. It hopes to expand to Durham and also create a central office overseeing all three locations.
“Our obligation is to share who we are and what we are in other communities,” Nunnallee said.
The group relies on donations from the community and is hopeful the Band Together NC concert will help in its fundraising goal.
Several bands will perform Saturday, including Michael Franti & Spearhead and Fat Cheek Cat.
Tickets for the show are on sale now and start at $20 for general admission. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Saturday. There will also be an after party at Deep South.
Strickland said it will probably be hot outside, but he’s anticipating “great music, a lot of fun and a lot of laughter all for the community.”